#KeepFamiliesTogether: How to Help

Keep-families-together_lg

Graphic by Nicolas Lampert

The Trump Administration is needlessly and cruelly separating children from their parents when they seek asylum in the United States. Their inhumane and immoral policy must be stopped. On June 14, rallies and vigils were held all across the country but the work cannot stop there.

We can say “this is not who we are as a country” but until this policy is blacked out, shredded, and burned to a crisp, this IS in fact, who we are as a country. Read my original post with the background on this issue here, or read the most recent headlines below, and work through the actions that each and every one of us can take at the bottom of this post.

The Recent Headlines

UN says US must stop separating migrant children from their parents

The administration is building a tent city to house the separated children

Defense Contractors Cashing in on Immigrant Kids’ Detention

‘It’s Horrendous’: The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father

A family was separated at the border, and this distraught father took his own life

I work with children separated from caregivers at the border. What happens is unforgivable.

Migrant in detention says her child was taken away while she breastfed

Fact Check

Trump claimed that the separations were happening because of a “horrible law” that the Democrats had enacted. This is false. There is no law stipulating that children be separated from their parents at the border. Via Politifact:

Before the Trump administration, immigrants entering illegally as families were rarely prosecuted, said Sarah Pierce, an associate policy analyst of the U.S. Immigration Program at the Migration Policy Institute. Instead, immigrants were held in family detention centers until they were sent to appear before an immigration court or deported.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on April 6 the Homeland Security Department would now be referring all illegal border crossings to the Justice Department for prosecution. Facing criminal charges, parents would go to detention centers, leaving their children unaccompanied. It’s the decision to prosecute parents that is causing the separations.

Border Patrol Agents Detain Migrants Near US-Mexico Border

A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in Mcallen, Texas. CREDIT: John Moore/GETTY IMAGES

How to Help – Pressuring Congress

Call Congress. Your two Senators and one Representative are in the best position to force the administration to abandon this new policy of separating kids from their families at the border. If you don’t call them, they don’t know how passionate you are about this issue. Find their contact info at Contacting Congress.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced The Keep Families Together Act (S.3036) which has 39 co-sponsors and is supported by American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Young Center for Immigrant Rights and the Women’s Refugee Commission, among others. As of the writing of this post, there are no Republican co-sponsors yet. Call your Senators and tell them you want them to support this bill.

A tip from a friend who lobbies Congress (about education): If you have a Senator (or Rep) who isn’t on board, tell them that you will call back regularly for updates on this issue. Also, tell them that this issue is so important to you, that if they do not act, you will actively work to get their opponent elected in November, including raising money and talking to every constituent you can get in front of.

The day of the #KeepFamiliesTogether rallies, some Republicans expressed some discomfort with the idea of separating families to reporters so now is the time to strike, and tell them to back that up with real action.

Also, you can contact ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) directly. Write to them here or call them at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

How To Help – Support Organizations Working on this Issue

The ACLU is gathering signatures to petition Kevin K. McAleenan, Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection to stop the government from abusing immigrant children. You can find the petition here.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has recommended guidelines for human rights at international borders which you can read here. The reported actions our DHS is taking do not comply with these guidelines. You can contact the UN Office for Human Rights here.

Amnesty International has been calling for an end to the U.S. policy of separating children at the border. Their call to action can be found at the end of this post here.

Support one (or more) of these organizations:

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
> They advocate for children’s rights as they migrate alone.

The Florence Project
> They provide free legal services to men, women, and unaccompanied children in immigration custody in Arizona.

Informed Immigrant
> They help people understand their rights. The website is full of good information, and you can search for groups working on these immigration issues located near you  here.

RAICES
> Based in Texas, they offer free or low-cost legal services to immigrant children and families. They are seeking both donations and volunteers.

Border Angels
> This organization advocates for humane immigration reform with a special focus on issues at the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly in San Diego County.

Again, thank you for your attention to this issue and taking action.

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Categories: Explainers

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1 reply

  1. This is a despicable policy on the part of Trump & Co, and he is using children as leverage, as a bargaining chip, to get funding for his wall. I agree with you — we must all make our voices heard loud and clear! We cannot remain silent on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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